w/ Danielle Howle, Eric Sommer, Rupert Wates, Yaddath, Letters to Abigail
Wed. May 21
6-10 p.m.
$5 donation
Awendaw Green

w/ Danielle Howle
Thurs. May 22
8 p.m.
King Dusko

Acoustic strumming singer/songwriters are so dollar-store that the Dubber is like crystal amongst cheap plastic. His distinctively slinky, percussive style affects a jazzy, dub-inflected funk-hop swagger that combines smirking island charm, surprisingly intricate playing, and a casual, speak-sing manner reminiscent of Gil-Scott Heron. The Dubber, a.k.a. Wendell Culbreath, got his start in Washington, D.C. as a guitarist in several funk/metal outfits during the Eighties and Nineties, and later he was part of a reggae group. Culbreath took some time in the early 2000s to regroup before recommitting to music as a singer/songwriter (despite never having sung before). He recently followed his 2010 debut Global Warning with his second full-length Cleaning Up the Dirty South. It showcases Culbreath’s crisp writing, wit, and infectiously laid-back saunter. Among the many highlights are the spacious reflective folk number “Black Male Americana,” the insistent downbeat reggae shuffle of “Do You Love Me,” and his dark, catchy dub-punk ode to outsiders and smokers in “New York City.” The latter is a canny travelogue about a border crossing that finds the dreadlocked Culbreath hassled by the Man who tells him, “You smell like New York City.” Indeed, there’s something sophisticated and slightly gritty about Culbreath’s approach that’s melded with the slower, meditative beauty of his home, keenly captured in the pretty pastoral sounds of the six-minute “South Cackalaki.” He’s appearing at Awendaw Barn Jam with Danielle Howle, a fine idiosyncratic roots songwriter in her own right. The Dubber will also appear on Thurs. May 22 at King Dusko on King Street, downtown. —Chris Parker WEDNESDAY

INDIE ROCK | Elim Bolt
w/Gold Light
Fri. May 23
9 p.m.
Big John’s Tavern

There’s no time like the present to check out the new and improved Big John’s Tavern. Charleston indie rockers Elim Bolt will be headlining a gig there this Friday along with fellow Hearts & Plugs artist Gold Light. Though based in Greenville, Gold Light’s Joe Chang can often be found around these parts, where his band recently filmed a video for the cotton-candy sweet 1950s-esque ballad “True Love Never Dies.” The video features Jess Oliver and Johnnie Matthews of Elim Bolt in a story that has Matthews adorably delivering door-to-door singing telegrams. Gold Light’s brilliant mix of classic and modern styles is the perfect complement to Elim Bolt’s similar old-time rock ‘n’ roll tendencies, a la Roy Orbison, as demonstrated on their debut LP Nude South. Their latest collection Dingy! Slimy! Scummy! detours down a slightly darker but still delightful route with less croons and more dirty garage rock action. —Kelly Rae Smith FRIDAY

FESTIVE BREW | First Flush Festival
w/ The Avett Brothers, Stop Light Observations, Luke Cunningham Band, Atlas Road Crew, and More
Sat. May 24
1 p.m.
$37.50/adv., $45/door
Charleston Tea Plantation

Don’t be fooled by the name: this show refers not to the john, the can, or indeed the pot. The “first flush” is the growth of new leaves on tea plants every spring, and, to tell you the truth, we can’t think of a better excuse for a festival than to commemorate good, ol’ honest tea. This is the eighth year that the Charleston Tea Plantation, America’s only tea plantation, will host the First Flush Festival to celebrate the new harvest with a killer musical lineup. This year’s headliners are North Carolina’s darlings the Avett Brothers, and they’ll be preceded by local and regional favorites including Stop Light Observations, Atlas Road Crew, Tyler Boone Band, Luke Cunningham Band, and tons more. Crowds will gather by the sprawling live oaks of beautiful Wadmalaw Island for a day of music, art, and food trucks galore. The festivities will feature two stages plus a kids area, and young’uns eight and under can go free of charge since the day is designed to be fun for the whole family. —Kelly Rae Smith SATURDAY

SONIC-ROCK | Whaleboat
w/ Fiasco
Fri. May 23
8 p.m.
Tin Roof

Savannah, Ga. indie rockers Whaleboat are blowing their local music scene out of the water with their latest EP Convoys. The pretty new-to-the-game crew formed in 2011 with lead vocalist and pianist Brent Collins, bassist Jeremiah Stuard, and drummer Donald Moats. The three-piece group added Blake Yokeley on lead guitar in 2012 for their debut EP. The 2014 project Convoys, however takes a completely different approach from their previous album. “We were in a big-boy studio,” Stuard says. “It was a fantastic experience and got us thinking about the songs differently. We are normally a huge and loud-sounding band live while Peter at Dollhouse Productions helped us fine-tune into a more vintage pop sound.” The disc’s lead song “Magic Touch” begins with a haunting dark-rock tone, while the cyclical “Night Swimming” (no relation to R.E.M., by the way) brings a melodic and nostalgic tone. Whaleboat is playing only their second show outside of Savannah at the Tin Roof on Friday. Stuard says, “Expect to be sonically driven to the darkest deepest depths of the ocean and back to the surface just before you run out of air.” —Kalyn Oyer FRIDAY

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